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At the outdoor set of Lee San, Wind of the Palace in Yongin, an interrogation
scene was being shot. The scene unfolded at a royal police station where the
criminals were questioned. Lee San, Wind of the Palace is known for its
visual details. We were able to meet actress Han Ji-min at the set since her
character will appear at the station to meet Prince San (actor Lee Seo-jin).
In the cheerful atmosphere, Han Ji-min smiled broadly as we began our interview.
- You must have felt a lot of pressure before filming began but now the show is a big success. How do you feel about that?
I don't keep tabs on TV ratings. I know it's important to know the opinions of our viewers and some of them give frank and objective views but sometimes a viewer might present a critical opinion and because of that, I deliberately avoid reading comments from viewers. It would ruin my mood if I read something very critical. I'm aware that the critics have given positive reviews of our miniseries. But I don't follow comments about my acting. Since we have so many fans, I am energized whenever I'm on the set. Everyone is working hard and professionally so I also try to work as hard as them because I don't want to give the impression that I'm falling behind. I try to ignore the pressure because if I dwell on it, it'll just create a pressure cooker situation. I basically try to concentrate on each scene.
- How do you practice memorizing your script when your part has a lot of lines and the language is in the old form of Korean.
Actually, my character didn't have a lot of lines until recently. But I had a difficult time with one scene where my character was explaining several points of a painting. Not only were there a lot of lines to memorize but it was also sprinkled with a lot of difficult words that I didn't know. I read the lines over and over out loud. That helps. And I will enlist my stylist as my practice partner.
- How do you get along with actors Lee Seo-jin and Lee Jong-soo?
They're both very nice people. It's usually hard to look into the eyes of an actor during a scene but I hit it off with them pretty well when I first met them. We joked around a lot and became friends quickly. Lee Jong-soo is a very hardworking actor. During rehearsals, he?ll put in a great deal of effort to perform well. Lee Seo-jin is a lot older than me but we still have a good time on the set. I learn a lot from him. I frequently ask him for acting tips and pull him towards the TV monitors to have him check my acting. He's been helping me out a lot.
- Who would you choose in real life A man who is in love with you or someone you have a crush on?
I would choose someone who likes me. I believe that there needs to be balance in a relationship. I'm the kind of person who returns the same amount of love that I receive. If someone gives me more love, I'll give more love. If someone tries to be more understanding, I'll try to be understanding, too. So I think you need to have equal amounts of love flowing both ways. I would like someone who likes me a lot.
- What's it like around the set?
Everyone is always in a great mood. We have fun. Sometimes I think it would be entertaining to just show the viewers what goes around on the set.
- How do you keep in shape?
Well, I have a lot of work to do. It takes hours to get into my outfit and practice my lines. But since there are so many different things going on in Lee San, Wind of the Palace, my character only appears in a few scenes and that gives me a lot of time to rest. Ever since I collapsed on the set a few years ago, which was reported in the tabloids, people ask about my health a lot. When I'm heading to the set in my van, I try to get as much sleep as possible. Lee Seo-jin and I are constantly hungry so we stuff ourselves when we have a meal. I also draw energy from the cheerful mood on the set. While working together with the crew, I feed off of their energy. When I'm physically tired, I just need to get some rest but when I'm mentally tired, I perk up when I'm surrounded by the crew during filming.
- Your character in the miniseries is a royal painter. Did you ever learn how to paint?
In fact, I took lessons in Oriental paintings before shooting began for Lee San, Wind of the Palace. But there are only a few scenes where you'll see me painting or making black ink by rubbing the black bar on the ink stone.
- What kind of difficulties did you face?
I find it difficult when I'm not acting at my full potential. My character says Your Highness whenever she talks to the prince but you know we don't use those kinds of words any more so it was hard to keep saying that before every sentence. I'm getting the hang of it now. I don't think I'd like the idea of being in love with a crown prince. They have a lot of royal concubines and that would make me jealous. Today, that would be called cheating, you know.
- Were there any funny moments on the set that you remember?
We need to concentrate to get into character but since we joke around so much in between scenes, I get worried about how I'll pull it off. Lee Seo-jin will actually pay more attention to me when I'm acting in scene than when he's in a scene. He'll even hold your hand in a way that conveys his emotions. There was this one scene where I was supposed to look at Prince San ride away on his mount and look at him sadly. While I was practicing that scene, Lee Seo-jin started to pretend he was riding on an imaginary horse and that made me laugh so hard.
As Han Ji-min gave animated answers to our question, we saw in her the pure image of the character she plays in Lee San, Wind of the Palace. On this particular day, the vice president of MBC was at the set, shaking hands with everyone and giving them words of encouragement. He also treated everyone to a nice buffet. The atmosphere on the set of Lee San, Wind of the Palace, a special drama commemorating the 46th anniversary of MBC, was light and cheerful. In episode 10, Prince San will finally meet Song-yeon again as adults. It'll be another episode with lots of drama.
Date of birth: November 5, 1982
Education: Seoul Women?s University, General Education Program
Awards: KBS Best New Actress (2005)